Read Whispering Shadows by Jan-Philipp Sendker Christine Lo Online


The first in a suspenseful new trilogy by the internationally bestselling author of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, this gripping story follows a retired expat journalist in contemporary China who tries to crack a murder case as he battles his own personal demons.American expat Paul Leibovitz was once an ambitious advisor, dedicated father, and loving husband. But after livThe first in a suspenseful new trilogy by the internationally bestselling author of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, this gripping story follows a retired expat journalist in contemporary China who tries to crack a murder case as he battles his own personal demons.American expat Paul Leibovitz was once an ambitious advisor, dedicated father, and loving husband. But after living for nearly thirty years in Hong Kong, personal tragedy strikes and Paul’s marriage unravels in the fallout.Now Paul is living as a recluse on an outlying island of Hong Kong. When he makes a fleeting connection with Elizabeth, a distressed American woman on the verge of collapse, his life is thrown into turmoil. Less than twenty-four hours later, Elizabeth’s son is found dead in Shenzhen, and Paul, invigorated by a newfound purpose, sets out to investigate the murder on his own.As Paul, Elizabeth, and a detective friend descend deeper into the Shenzhen underworld—against the wishes of a woman with whom Paul has had a flirtation—they discover dark secrets hidden beneath China’s booming new wealth. In a country where rich businessmen with expensive degrees can corrupt the judicial system, the potential for evil abounds.Part love story, part crime thriller, Whispering Shadows is the captivating tale of one man’s desperate search for redemption within the vice of a world superpower, a place where secrets from the past threaten to upend the country’s unchecked drive towards modernization....

Title : Whispering Shadows
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781476793641
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 341 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Whispering Shadows Reviews

  • Esil
    2019-05-26 08:23

    Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for an opportunity to read Whispering Shadows. This was the first book I have read by Jan-Philipp Sendker. It is set in contemporary China, and told primarily from the perspective of an American expat, Paul, who has been living in Hong Kong for 30 years. It's hard to pigeon hole the genre that Whispering Shadows fits into. It's sort of a mystery involving the death of an other American. But the mystery is not very complex and the book doesn't really focus on solving of the mystery. It's also about Paul and his struggle to deal with his son's death that occurred a few years prior to the beginning of the book. And it's very much about contemporary China as seen through the eyes of someone who has lived there for 30 years, speaks the language fluently and still struggles to understand how things work. Somehow all of this comes together quite well and makes for a very readable book. I especially liked the observations about China -- the politics, the history, the lives of ordinary people and the geography. It was woven really well into the narrative and gave me a strong sense of place and context. And made me want to read more about China and fiction set in contemporary China. And I was surprised to read that this is a translation from the German because it does not read like a translation. I understand that this is meant to be part of a trilogy, and I will look forward to Sendker's next book.

  • John Williamson
    2019-05-24 14:24

    I read Sendker’s first book, “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats,” and loved it so I couldn’t wait to read his follow-up. I found it hard to put down; read it within two days. Needless to say, I enjoyed the story. It’s more than your standard mystery thriller - the author also gives insight into the setting the story takes place, in this book Hong Kong. While I have traveled to China, it gave me a glimpse into the dark-side of China that you only get a glimpse of in movies. The author focuses on two men, Paul Leibovitz – an American living on an island of Hong Kong and Zheng Lin – a Chinese homicide detective living in Shenzhen. We learn about each character’s past and their shared need to find redemption as they search for the Owen’s son. Sendker does an amazing job of developing characters and the setting so you can easily imagine yourself witnessing everything that you read. It reminded me of a book that I just finished by Joseph Kanon, “Istanbul Passage.” I highly recommend it and I am now a confirmed fan of Sendker!

  • Dianne
    2019-06-02 13:23

    Thanks to NetGalley and Atria for allowing me access to this advance reader copy.I loved Jan-Philipp Sendker’s “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats,” so I was very eager to read this. It’s definitely a bit different from “Heartbeats.” It’s a blend of a love story, a tale of loss and healing and a crime thriller set in modern-day Hong Kong and China. Paul Leibovitz lives a life of self-imposed exile on Lamma Island in Hong Kong. His only son, Justin, died three years ago of leukemia and his wife has divorced him. He lives simply and quietly, keeping his contact with other people to a bare minimum to preserve the memory of his son. Every year, he hikes to the top of a local mountain in a solitary pilgrimage to honor his son who used to accompany him. On this particular year, he makes incidental contact with an American woman, Elizabeth Owen, who is in distress. It turns out her adult son, Michael, has gone missing while in China on business and she begs Paul to assist her and her husband in locating him. Reluctantly, Paul agrees to help. He asks his old friend Zhang, a detective with the Hong Kong police force, to help. As they investigate, secrets and corruption come to light and both Paul and Zhang have to confront their own inner demons.This book employs the alternating narrator device. I didn’t love it here – while it allows the reader to gain additional perspective from the main characters’ point of view, it can make for a choppy reading experience – especially in this case where there were at least six narrators. I especially enjoyed Paul and Zhang’s narration and was a little irritated when one of the other narrators “interrupted.”The book provides some interesting insight into the political, business and economic landscape in modern Hong Kong and China, and some lovely local color. The parts of the book dealing with food and cooking qualify as full-on “food porn.” There are some touching and emotional moments, too, as Paul slowly comes out of his shell and comes to grips with the loss of his son, especially at the end in a letter he pens to his lost son.This is apparently the first in a trilogy – I will definitely look forward to the next installation and getting to know Paul and Zhang a little better.

  • Linda
    2019-05-22 08:39

    I received a copy of Whispering Shadows from Atria Books presented on Goodreads."In contrast, he noticed, the stillness that reigned in this house did him no good. It spread through him and pushed all thoughts of the case of Michael Owen, of Mei or Paul to one side, and made space for memories that he did not want to engage with. Stillness, thought Zhang, is not good for people who want to forget."I was drawn into this book full-on from page one. The writing style of Jan-Philipp Sendker is rich in descriptors of time, place, and character. You are being engaged into the prose not only with your stimulated mind, but also with the stimulation of the senses. Your heart takes in the heaviness of a father's loss. Your eyes have envisioned the China of the Cultural Revolution and the China of the present. Your olfactory nerves seem to inhale the headiness of the steam rising from the hot pot dishes. And throughout the book, your spirit is on a quest alongside Paul and Zhang to bring justice to a situation wrought with loopholes and entanglements that wind their way from the clutches of the past and into the present living moments.That stillness that is quoted from Zhang is relatable to our own lives. A common thread that is weaved throughout the story is each character's refusal to deal head-to-head with the pains of the past. The stillness forces us to revisit the heaviness inflicted upon our souls. These "Whispering Shadows" are brought into the light by Jan-Philipp Sendker's stellar ability to capture the angst of the human spirit. He blends these elements of fine characterization, twisting plot situations, and a more than satisfying ending into an exceptional read.I highly recommend Whispering Shadows and look forward to future offerings by this very talented writer.

  • PopcornReads
    2019-06-10 13:28

    When we reviewed the international bestseller, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, by Jan-Phillipp Sendker three years ago, I wrote that rarely had a novel touched me the way that one did and that’s still true. What’s also true is that now, having read Jan-Phillipp’s new novel, Whispering Shadows, I can say with no hesitation that he’s one of the most gifted storytellers out there. Whispering Shadows is a quite different novel from The Art of Hearing Heartbeats yet it also has the same depth of emotion and the same multi-layered feel to it. Whispering Shadows can be read on the surface as a cross-cultural crime thriller yet it also contains profound statements about relationships, life, and death. It’s Book #1 in a new trilogy, which pleases me no end. Read the rest of my review at

  • Jamie
    2019-06-13 09:39

    Couldn't actually finish. The characters are not engaging, but they are interesting. The problem is the history and politics that abound. After slogging through dozens of really boring pages, I read the character saying that he had only a passing interest in it. Well that was it for me. Whatever passing interest I had, passed.

  • Max
    2019-06-10 11:25

    2.5 stjerner.Fin bok, men veldig flat spenningskurve. Ganske forutsigbar. Får ikke inntrykk av at forfatteren er veldig bevandret innen krim-sjangeren.

  • Judy Collins
    2019-05-26 08:34

    A special thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.WHISPERING SHADOWSby Jan-Philipp Sendker, is a multi-layered extraordinary story of universal human emotions of loss, love, betrayal, and trust. A gripping suspense story of a retired journalist in contemporary China attempting to crack a murder case, as he battles his own demons and loss of his son. A mix of a love story and crime mystery thriller, a captivating tale of a man’s desperation and search for redemption, in a land where secrets from the past threaten to destroy the future.From Hong Kong and China, to exotic Lamma Island -- to the homeless. A unique character, Paul Leibovitz has lived in Hong Kong for thirty years until personal tragedy hit, and his life began to unravel and fall part piece by piece.After the death of Paul and Meredith son, Justin dies of leukemia, Paul withdraws and buys a house on Lamma, an island- a ferry ride from Hong Kong. Living in isolation on an exotic island he meets an American woman whose son has gone missing and she wants him to help her solve the mystery behind the disappearance and into the underworld. Since Justin's death, he has not associated with hardly anyone except Christine, a Hong Kong–based single mother, and Zhang, a homicide detective in Shenzhen.Under the bricks, cement, high rises, real estate development, airports, and all the new exploding development, there is evil, power, greed, and corruption. From misappropriation of official funds, tax evasion and murder---“Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” Could you leave your shadow behind if you only walked fast enough? He wonders about the people who lived here thirty years ago. In the last thirty years, despite all the advances in medical science, children die. People are consumed by feelings of guilt or sink into self-pity, unable to bear the emptiness or refused to let their children die. Life must go on.The under story is the police detective recalling his life during the Cultural Revolution and how his life intersects with the powerful Chinese businessman deeply involved in the murder investigation. The face of this country had changed with complexities beyond comprehension.An absorbing mystery of the old versus the new -- A chilling account taking you to the darkest places, the fears, the anxieties and the struggles, to the most exotic and riches, for an almost mesmerizing adventure, keeping you glued to the pages.Rich in vivid exquisite settings, nature, culture, emotion, and well developed compelling characters, we learn about each character's complex past and their shared need to find redemption, as they search for the son.Sendker does an outstandingjob in creating the backdrop, as you imagine yourself there; he is in tune with the Eastern philosophies, and cultures, bringing passion, vibrancy, and authenticity to this well-written novel. An engrossing book, and a heart-wrenching portrayal of the Cultural Revolution’s devastating effects —strongly recommend to lovers of history, literature, politics, cultural, romance, and mystery. An ideal choice for book clubs and group discussions. Can’t wait to read “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats", as have heard nothing but rave reviews. Looking forward to the next in Sendker's intriguing trilogy!Video ClipJudith D. Collins Must Read Books

  • Barbara
    2019-06-12 16:31

    Jan-Phillip Sendker proves himself to be a gifted author with his second novel, “Whispering Shadows”. I adored this novel as much as his first novel, “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats”. Sendker is able to create complex and real characters that the reader can identify with and have compassion for: imperfections, faults, and all.In this novel, the whispering shadows are the guilt, fright, and insecurities caused by the 1966 Chinese Cultural Revolution on the Chinese people. In his Acknowledgments, Sendker writes that he was inspired by life stories told to him from Chinese people. I always enjoy novels that awaken me to the struggles and fears of people of whom I’m not familiar. China is an interesting country, full of complexities and disparities. “Whispering Shadows” provides an insider look at the differing culture of China, along with business dealings that Americans find strange.I’m truly fond of novels that I gain such insight in an absorbing tale. The main character, Paul Leibovitz is on a self-imposed isolation in Hong Kong due to the death of his young son. A troubled American woman, Elizabeth Owens, asks for his help during a coincidental meeting. Against his innate sense, he agrees to help. The reader feels Paul’s struggles to keep independent of society as he becomes unwittingly involved in a murder.Beyond learning more about China, this is a superb thriller. The reader gets to read a masterfully paced thriller while being frustrated with the cultural nuances of the Chinese. It’s not a sympathetic look at business dealings and the corruption of China. It’s a great read. I highly recommend it.

  • Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
    2019-05-27 14:38

    Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.I really enjoyed this one. I loved the complexities. It did take a long time for the story to really take off, since it was more character-driven. I think my biggest issue was with the fact that when dealing with the big baddie it was resolved a little too quickly.

  • Gail Nelson
    2019-06-16 09:48

    Absolutely love Jan Philipp Sendker. Loved The Art of Hearing Heartbeats and A Well Tempered Heart. His writing is like no one else's. This is a very different kind of book for him. Predictable but still enjoyable!

  • Lena Westman - Mest Lenas Godsaker
    2019-06-16 15:37

    Betyg: 4,5 / 5Intressant, spännande, känslosam och så fint språk.

  • Christine Dolan
    2019-06-01 09:21

    It's a very long time since I read a book so quickly. I thought I was going to struggle with it, as the beginning is terribly sad, about the death of a child. But I knew it was a crime thriller, so I raced through that bit. Once I got to the investigation, I found it to be a tense page-turner. All the bits about the Chinese Cultural Revolution were interesting, too. It's the first one of a trilogy, and the second one is available. I'm buying it right now on Kindle, as I can't wait to read it.Thanks for this book, Kathy!

  • Haniya (Voracious Bookling)
    2019-05-30 08:27


  • Lisbeth Bardal
    2019-06-13 12:33

    Vakkert og lærerikt skrevet om sorg og tap. Spennende lesing om Kinas kulturrevolusjon og dens følger.

  • Paul Pessolano
    2019-05-31 11:40

    “Whispering Shadows” by Jan-Philipp Sendker, published by Atria Books.Category – Mystery/Thriller Publication Date – April 14, 2015Like most of us, the main characters in this book have something hidden in their background that causes both internal and external strife. Strife, which will play a significant role in their lives, both good and bad. The novel takes place in China and uses the changes in Chinese culture, especially between the mainland and Hong Kong, to show how these changes effect the perspective of not only the foreigner doing business with the Chinese, but how the Chinese have adopted the idea of capitalization. It also portrays a country seeped in corruption in business and government.Paul Leibovitz is facing the loss of his young son and divorce and removes himself from society. It seems he has only one friend, Zhang, a Chinese detective. Zhang has been battling his own demons that go back to when he was a member of the Red Guard under Mao. A young American businessman is found murdered and Zhang begins to question how his compatriots are handling the case. It seems to cut and dry, especially when a factory worker, under duress, admits to the murder. Zhang asks Paul to become involved in the case by questioning the young man’s father and mother. Paul discovers that the confessed murderer has an iron clad alibi and looks into the business transactions of the young man. He begins to believe that the murder may be tied to these transactions and the monetary and political greed associated with the Chinese government.This is the first book in a trilogy and is an excellent read for those looking for a good mystery tied to the cultural changes within China. There is some minor language and sexual content but overall the book is a thinking man’s mystery.

  • Kristin
    2019-05-29 16:43

    Interesting mystery novel that also provides some insight into the current (and potentially long term) ramifications for China (culture, economy, development, etc.) of the violence carried out during the Cultural Revolution at the human level. For example: "In a very short time, buildings hundreds of years old that had borne witness to the past had disappeared in those cities [Chengdu, Chongqing, Shanghai, Wuhun]. Razed to the ground as though they had never existed [especially their historic quarters in their city centers, where everything has been razed to the ground and a forest of high rise buildings put up in their place]. At times like these, it seemed to him that this untrammeled building frenzy and the incredible rate of change were a desperate attempt to flee from history, and the new high-rise buildings, roads, highways, airports and factories were not so much signs of progress as giant memorials to the desire to forget. As if you could brick up memories. As if you could cement them all away and plaster over them. As if you could leave your shadow beind if you only walked fast enough." Fairly fast read.

  • Chris
    2019-06-01 10:41

    The first 50 pages of this are a major downer-man loses child to cancer and withdraws from the world and you wonder why are you reading this. However, I'd read Sendker's first two books and knew what a good storyteller he is and how adept he is at drawing the reader into his world. And it happened again. It's got family secrets, guilt, and these elements are not only unique to the main character, Paul. Paul finds redemption once he emerges from his hermetic shell and there's a bit of a thriller aspect as we have an amateur taking on a skilled, power broker in China. Wondering if Sendker will be persona non grata in China with this book exposing imaginary "tragic" events during the Cultural Revolution.

  • Kathe Coleman
    2019-05-21 09:42

    Whispering Shadows by Jan-Philipp SendkerPart love story, part crime thriller. Paul Liebovitz’s young son dies tragically from leukemia and it throws his life into turmoil. Having lived in Hong Kong for thirty years he buys a house on Lamma, an island just a ferry boat ride from Hong Kong, where he has become a recluse. He has associated with almost no one except Christine, a Hong Kong–based single mother, and Zhang, a homicide detective in Shenzhen. Zhang also broken and is confronting the demons of his past. Enjoyed learning about the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

  • Denise
    2019-06-05 10:22

    This was quite different from Sendker's The Art of Hearing Heartbeats and its sequel, but the writing and pace were still perfect. The characters were very special, almost magical, as Sendker's characters tend to be. The story, part love story and murder mystery, is very interesting and moves well. It is set in Hong Kong and China and the reader is given some bonus history about the Cultural Revolution. I read this book in two days so I definitely recommend it. I really enjoyed this book and thank the publisher for the opportunity to read it early.

  • Karine
    2019-05-20 11:49

    Får følelsen av at Sendker prøver å gjøre krim, romanse, sorgbearbeidelse og kulturbeskrivelse på en gang, og resultatet blir noe midt mellom. Men jeg syns han skriver godt, særlig om kinesisk kultur og tankesett. I alle fall for en som meg som ikke kunne noen ting om Kina fra før. Så totalt sett er boks verdt å lese; jeg ser ikke bort fra at jeg vil lese de neste i trilogien.(Skal jeg bedømme utfra hvor fengende historien var, og da også hvor fort den ble "konsumert", burde jeg nok legge på en stjerne til.)

  • Linda
    2019-06-14 15:41

    I would probably give this 31/2 stars. The writing flowed, the story was interesting, & I was sorry when it ended. This is a modern take on China that has the past woven in through character interaction. You could feel the humidity, smell the scents, & feel the claustrophobic bustle. It was not high literature, but it was damn entertaining. I am most likely going to check out some more of Mr. Sendker's works. In fact I know I will.

  • Marina
    2019-05-31 13:25

    No, I am sorry for writing this, but no, Jan-Philipp Sendker did not do it again.I was like an obsessed maniac while I was reading his first two books. I could not stop until I have read them both.This one? I had to force myself to end it. I didn't like the plot, there was no magic in the books (not the Harry Potter kind of magic, but the Art of hearing heartbeats magic),and the ending was lukewarm.Nevertheless, I will always read everything he writes, no matter how lukewarm they might be.

  • Delta
    2019-06-09 12:46

    This is the first book by Sendker I've read, so I can't compare. I had a hard time slogging through the rather boring passages discussing contemporary Chinese culture and politics. And it's not the subject matter because I've enjoyed several non-fiction books about the subject. The mystery was okay, but not terribly interesting. It was the plot to a thriller, but missing all the action.**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

  • comablack
    2019-06-11 12:31

    Un libro che definirei esattamente come le tre stelle che ho dato: nella media. Parte col sentimentalismo dovuto alla recente perdita di un figlio per poi sfociare in un giallo che non è nulla di che. Scritto bene, per carità, ma si intuisce molto presto quale sarà la soluzione del caso. Lasciamo scrivere i gialli ad altri più capaci.

  • Amber
    2019-05-30 09:33

    I really wanted to love this. Mostly because of how good The Art of Hearing Hearbeats was. And this IS so well written, but it just didn't connect with me. Some of the China stuff was interesting but I feel like you need to know quite a bit about the last 50 years of political goings on in China to really appreciate this book.

  • Lisa
    2019-06-07 16:36

    Though fictional, this was an eye opening read about what life in China can be like. Corruption, restrictions, and the remaining scars from the Cultural Revolution. This feels like a stand alone novel, which is good considering it's the first in a trilogy. I wonder what the next book will be about.

  • Luis
    2019-05-29 10:47

    The storywriting seemed a bit conventional at first but that was a great voyage in too familiar China. Makes you really want to live on Lamma away from it all! Great book: I'm going for the #2 Drachenspiele

  • Kat Evans Hernandez
    2019-06-17 15:26

    It’s a crime thriller and showed what it would be like to live in Hong Kong and China. It's about a retired journalist in China trying to crack a murder case, as he battles his own demons and loss of his son. A great read. Definitely a page turner till the end!

  • Michael Skelton
    2019-05-20 08:40

    My wife and mother-in-law loved this book. I am giving it three stars because of several reasons. One, I am hard pressed to understand how Paul gets roped into a murder investigation after a five minute conversation at a diner on top of a mountain. Secondly, this whole book goes to great lengths to establish that Tang is a super powerful man, above law enforcement, but all of a sudden after one phone call, he is impisoned and all is well. Third of all, since the death of his son, Paul lives the life of a hermit with next to zero interactions with others. Then, a few days into this elaborate murder investigation, he goes toe to toe in a face off with Tang, each challenging the other with their wit, wisdom and cleverness. That is entertaining but hardly realistic for a man living in near solitude for so long. It just didn't all work so well for me.